EppsNet Archive: Music

Rhapsody

11 Feb 2018 /

I am glad daylong for the gift of song,
     For time and change and sorrow;
For the sunset wings and the world-end things
     Which hang on the edge of to-morrow.
I am glad for my heart whose gates apart
     Are the entrance-place of wonders,
Where dreams come in from the rush and din
     Like sheep from the rains and thunders.

— William Stanley Braithwaite, “Rhapsody”
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Teaching Computer Science: When You Need Help, Ask For Help

1 Feb 2018 /

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week at a local high school, helping out with computer science classes.

It’s a mixed class . . . most of the students are taking AP Computer Science Principles, and about 10 kids just recently started a second-semester Visual Basic class.

Help

The VB kids were pretty inquisitive at first but started to get discouraged . . . in my opinion because of the way the material is presented to them via an online curriculum.

The current approach to teaching computer science in American schools, because of the shortage of (I almost said “lack of”) qualified teachers is to use packaged courses delivered to students online.

My observation is students assume that because they’ve been put in front of a computer full of lessons, they’re expected to be able to read and understand the material and complete the assignments on their own with no help.

This is a fatal misconception. The material is too difficult for most people who are not already programmers, so the kids decide pretty quickly that they just don’t have what it takes to learn the stuff.

“Tragedy” is probably too strong a word for what is happening in computer science education, but programming is what I do, I think programming and computational thinking are important and valuable skills, and it makes me sad to see them taught in a way that crushes students’ enthusiasm.

 

Brief digression: I take piano lessons. My teacher is a musician, a pianist. Music is part of her life, it’s part of who she is, part of how she thinks. How could someone who’s not a musician teach music?

How can someone who’s not a programmer teach computer science?

 

Because of everything I’ve said above, along with offering technical assistance, I try to encourage kids to stay engaged . . .

UC Santa Barbara

“I’m going to tell you a story,” I said this morning. “First I’ll tell you the moral of the story, then I’ll tell you the story. The moral is: When you need help, ask for help.

“That may seem obvious but I feel like some of you are thinking that you should be working through online lessons with a lot of independence.

“I worked with a class a couple years ago at another school. One of the students there was very quiet but she always asked for help when she needed help. She asked quietly, but she asked.

“And when I gave her an answer, she almost always asked ‘why?’ I don’t mean ‘why why why’ like a 5-year-old, but if she didn’t understand why something was important or why you’d want to do something one way and not another way, she asked why.

“It’s a good question because if the only reason for doing something is because I said to do it, what is she going to do if I’m not there?

“What happened to this girl? She’s now a computer science major at UC Santa Barbara. She was able to do that because she didn’t give up on herself when she didn’t understand something and because, even though she wasn’t the most naturally outgoing person she decided to own her own results and use the resources that were available.”

“You’ve got to own it, kids. When you need help, ask for help. Don’t give up on yourself.”

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Fernando and Barbara Ann

24 Jan 2018 /

I got an email today from a guy named Fernando and I can’t get the song out of my mind . . .

Can you hear the drums, Fernando?
There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando.

I would not want to have a name that reminds people of a song that they immediately start singing to me my whole life.

Like Jude. Or Barbara Ann. Barbara Ann would be a bad name to have . . .


Neil Diamond Retires From Touring

22 Jan 2018 /

Neil Diamond Announces Retirement From Touring After Parkinson’s Disease DiagnosisVariety

Sorry to hear this . . . as a young person I had the Hot August Night live album on an 8-track tape and I played it till it wore out . . .


The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. — Nietzsche


Christmas In New Orleans

25 Dec 2017 /

French Quarter

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French Quarter – Cafe du Monde

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French Quarter – Preservation Hall

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French Quarter – Bourbon Street

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Lafayette Cemetery #1

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VooDoo BBQ

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Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (Biloxi, MS)

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People I Thought Were Dead

20 Dec 2017 /

Updates

  • Vic Damone – died 2/11/2018, age 89

The Emperor’s New Clothes

15 Nov 2017 /

I see plenty of clothes that I like
But I won’t go anywhere nice for a while
All I want to do is just sit here
And write it all down and rest for a while

 


Fats Domino, 1928-2017

25 Oct 2017 /

Ain’t that a shame . . .


Wild Wild Life

23 Oct 2017 /

Sleeping on the interstate oh oh oh
Getting wild, wild life
Checkin’ in, checkin’ out! Uh, huh!
I got a wild, wild life
Spending all of my money and time oh oh oh
Done too much wild, wild
We want to go, where we go, where we go oh oh oh
I doing wild, wild life


What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?

22 Oct 2017 /

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?


See You in Hell: Tom Petty Update

2 Oct 2017 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

He was standing at the gates here but he wouldn’t back down. Go figure.

See you in Hell . . .


Walter Becker, 1950-2017

3 Sep 2017 /

Walter Becker

It’s hard times befallen the Soul Survivors
She thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old

RIP Walter Becker


Things Have Changed

24 Aug 2017 /

People are crazy, times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but . . . things have changed


Wandering Boy

16 Aug 2017 /

I hope he’s warm and I hope he’s dry
And that a strangers eye is a friendly eye
And I hope he has someone close by his side
And I hope that he’ll come home

Where is my wandering boy tonight?
Where is my wandering boy?
If you see him, tell him everything is alright
Push him towards the light
Where is my wandering boy?

Randy Newman, “Wandering Boy”

Our Town

13 Jul 2017 /


And I can see the sun settin’ fast
And just like they say nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye but hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight


I just don’t understand it . . . I just don’t understand it . . . I just don’t understand it . . . I must have got lost . . .

Posted by on 28 May 2017

The Myth of Fingerprints

8 May 2017 /
Fingerprint

Over the mountain
Down in the valley
Lives a former talk-show host
Everybody knows his name
He says, “There’s no doubt about it
It was the myth of fingerprints
I’ve seen them all and, man,
They’re all the same”

Paul Simon, “All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints”

Brahms Shooting Cats

14 Oct 2016 /

Allegedly, Brahms would sit by a window with a bow-and-arrow-type weapon that Dvorák gave him, and shoot arrows at the cats in the street.

Schmopera

Lullaby, and good night, in the skies stars are briiight . . . GODDAMN CATS!!!

bow and arrow


What Might We Be Missing?

14 Sep 2016 /

Joshua Bell is a violinist, one of the world’s greatest classical musicians. The Washington Post a few years ago did an experiment where they put him in a DC metro station wearing a pair of jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. Like a street musician. He’s got an open violin case in front of him so people can put money in.

It’s about 8 a.m. on a Friday, morning rush hour. He plays for 45 minutes, and 1,097 people pass through the area where he’s playing.

Before watching the video, you may want to consider out of that many people — more than 1,000 — how many will recognize the quality for what it is? How many will stop and listen? How much money will he make?

Before you answer, keep in mind that he’s not going to play popular tunes that a lot of people will recognize. He’s not going to play Star Wars, he’s not going to play Disney songs. That’s not the experiment. These are enduring masterpieces.

The piece you’ll hear at the beginning is “Chaconne” by Bach. It’s like the Stairway to Heaven of violin solos. Brahms, also a famous composer — not as famous as Bach but still pretty famous — said: “If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”

The violin he’s playing is a Stradivarius handcrafted in 1713. Price tag? $3.5 million. So he’s got a good fiddle. That’s not the problem.

Americans . . . we’re busy, busy, busy. It’s amazing, funny and dismaying at the same time.

In 45 minutes, seven people stopped what they were doing to listen for at least a minute, 27 gave money for a total of $32.17. That leaves 1,070 people who completely ignored what was happening right in front of them.

As it happens, exactly one person recognized Bell. She enters the video around the 1:35 mark. For the record her name is Stacy Furukawa, a demographer at the Commerce Department.

“It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen,” Furukawa said. “Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?

Well, she lives in one of the (allegedly) most cultivated cities in America. This is not Bakersfield . . . it’s not Des Moines, Iowa. No offense to people from Iowa but in Iowa they’d just call the cops and have the guy thrown out of there.

What I was hoping you might contemplate is — what might we be missing in our haste to catch the subway, get to work, meet expectations, prove that we belong and keep up with all the minutiae of life?

What might we be missing that’s right in front of us and we’re failing to see the beauty of it?


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